I just finished with my AP European History Class, and I will admit, I’m going to miss it. So in order to mourn a little I’ve put together some of the best books I’ve ever read about European history (note: not all books in the featured photo will be used because I’ve not read all of them, that was a post I made on instagram about all the European History books I owned (well, all the ones I could find the day I took the photo)). As of the publication of this post I have left that class for the last time, and I’m kind of sad.
If you’ve ever considered taking an AP class, then I’m going to have to reccomend this one. If you want to be forced to learn to take notes, take this one.
by Rhidian Brook
This is a very unique book about WWII, because it’s not set during the war, but after it, and it paints many of the German citizens as the victims they truly were. It’s an eye-opening account that reminds us that just because someone has a different set of beliefs than us they are still very, very human and just as prone to heartbreak and misery as we are.
by Carolyn Meyer
Full title: Anastasia, the Last Grand Duchess
Unlike the other Caroline Meyer books I have in this list, The Last Grand Duchess from the Royal Diaries series is meant for a younger audience. She does have a book about Anastasia for older readers, called Anastasia and her Sisters, but I haven’t gotten ahold of it yet. This is the book that launched my strange obsession with the Romanov royal family (well, the last set of them any way) and it led to my discovery of one of my favorite movies of all time: 20th Century Fox’s Anastasia.
The Count of Monte Crist0
by Alexander Dumas
This is without a doubt the best classic I’ve ever read. I had to read it for my 8th Grade reading class and I am so glad I did. I have to admit, while the movie was pretty good, it changed a lot of the story (including rewriting the entire ending) and took out one of my favorite characters, so I’m going to say that in this case the book is much better! And I usually love movies.
Da Vinci’s Tiger
by LM Elliot
A lot of people who read this thought it was too wordy and had more history and information than actual plot, but for me that wasn’t a problem at all. I read it while taking AP Euro and so the added background was actually very helpful and interesting to me.
Daughter of Venice
by Donna Jo Napoli
I read this all the way back in my freshman year and I used information I learned from it in AP Euro this year. After reading it I also leant it to my then World History teacher who was my Euro teacher this year. She loved it so much she actually considered making it a required read for the European History class (she didn’t, but it’s neat that she liked it that much!).
The Kingdom of Little Wounds
By Susann Cokal
What makes this book so cool (but also suited for older audiences) is how brutally realistic it is. The author did not shy away from writing about how court life really was, not at all like the romantic image we have of it today. In the author’s own words this is “a fairytale about syphilis.”
by Kathryn Lasky
Full Title: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria – France, 1769
I had to include this book – even though, once again its from the Royal Diaries series and meant for younger readers – because it launched an obsession with Marie Antoinette that would lead to my last halloween costume being, you guessed it, Marie herself (you can see more about that here).
Mary, Bloody Mary
by Carolyn Meyer
Before my afore mentioned Anastasia obsession was my Tudor Dynasty obsession. Don’t ask why, I was a strange child and my mother has a degree in history so she encouraged me down that path. Mary, Bloody Mary is an interesting look at the circumstances that cause a young girl to grow up into the bloodthirsty queen we know her as today. It paints a very pitiable picture of Henry VIII’s oldest daughter and the sister of Elizabeth I.
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
This is one of the most tragic books I’ve ever read and I’ve leant it to three people – my Euro teacher and two of my friends in that class – and they both agreed. However, it is beautiful and I think you’ll love it.
To Hold the Crown
by Jean Plaidy
Full Title: To Hold the Crown: The Story of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
Its been years since I read this, but it’s still sitting on my self and I occasionally pick it up and consider re-reading it because I remember loving it when I first read it. It was during my Tudor Phase and I remembering being thrilled to find something that was written about a different Tudor than Henry VIII and his children.
by Carolyn Meyer
Queen Vic is just a very cool, very fascinating woman. Her power and influence is something that we cannot fathom today. She was a devout Christian, yet, when she died the Islamic faith lengthened the holy month Ramadan to allow for more prayers to be said for her. Think about what that says. This book is a really well researched look into the queen at a young age and the events that shaped the woman she would become.